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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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THE SOSHESY AT ITS BEST.

The general poverty of the district forms the motif of the following popular
Hindi couplet, in which Krishna's neglect to en-rich the land of his birth with
any choicer product than the kartl, or wild caper, is cited as an illustration of

his wilfulness:

*K*      lit                     I

1 for ft    sstw3jtwf% if

which may "be thus done into English :

Krishna, you see, will merer lose Ms wayward whims and Tapours ;
lot Kabul teen? a with luscious fruit, while Braj boasta only capera.

In ihe rains however, at which season of the year all pilgrimages are made,

the Jamunais a mighty stream, a mile or more broad; Its many contributory
torrents and all the ponds and lakes, with which the district abounds, are filled to
overflowing; the rocks and hills are clothed with foliage, the dusty plain is trans-
formed into a green sward, and the smiling prospect goes far to justify the warm-
est panegyrics of the Hindu poets, whose appreciation, of the scesiety, it must be
remembered, has been further intensified by religious enthusiasm* Even at all
seasons of the year the landscape has a quiet charm of its own ; a sudden turn in
the winding lane reveals a grassy knoll with stone-built well and overhanging
jpipal; or some sacred grove, where gleamingtufts ofkaril and the white-blossomed
orilsa weed are dotted about between the groups of weird piiu trees with their
clusters of tiny berries and strangely gnarled and twisted trunks, all entangled
in a dense undergrowth of prickly ber and kins and cfikonkar: while in the centre,
bordered with flowering oleander and ntwfra, a still cool lake reflects the modest
shrine and weE-fenced bush of tvM that surmount the raised terrace, from which
a broad flight of steps, gift of some thankful pilgrim from afar, leads down to
the water's edge. The most pleasing architectural works in the district are the
large masonry tanks, which are very numerous and often display excellent taste
in design and skill in execution. The temples, though in some instances of
considerable size, are all, excepting those in the three towns of Hathura\
Brind&-ban and Gobardlian, utterly devoid of artistic merit.

To a very recent period almost the whole of this large area was pasture and
woodland aud, as we have already remarked, many of the villages are still
environed with belts of trees. These are variously designated as (/hand, jhdri,

d9 bamy or khandi,* and are often of considerable extent.    Thus, the Koki-

* TOea the last term Is used, the mme of the most pteTalent kind ot tret ia alwajs added,
fts for ifislaiusfi Aodain&^khtndit
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